Food & Drink

Bartenders’ Best Hangover Prevention Tips

Bartenders certainly have their fair share of hangover cures, from pre-noon cocktails to greasy feasts to healthy detoxes. But they also have a few tips up their tattoo sleeves for avoiding hangovers altogether. The next time you head out to the bars, put one or more of these bartender-approved hangover prevention tactics to the test.

Leche de Tigre

“In Peru, leche de tigre—or tiger’s milk— is the ultimate prevention and cure for a hangover. Peruvians tend to eat cebiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the leftover marinade from cebiche contains salt, protein, and electrolytes, which will get you ready for any post-party symptoms. At La Mar, we offer over eight different cebiche selections and can even provide the leche de tigre on its own for those daring diners that prefer to treat it like a beverage.” —Joselino Solis, La Mar, San Francisco, CA

Water, No Ice

“Every time I take a shot, I drink a glass of water with no ice.” —Sean Glenn, The Patterson House, Nashville, TN  

A Constant Supply of Alcohol

“These days I mostly avoid hangovers through the tried and true method of sustaining a very high daily intake of alcohol so that my body's homeostasis allows for much greater consumption of harmful fluids. Think of the poison death scene in The Princess Bride. Aside from this years-in-the-making scar I've put on my insides, I usually stay away from any added sugar, so I rarely drink cocktails all night. I try to stick with straight booze or white wine.” —Nate Boley, 21 Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Magnesium Chloride and Salt Water

“0.3 gram MgCl2 (aka magnesium chloride, which can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store under the name "nigari"). For those who don't have a scale that precise, weigh out a gram in a pint glass. Then fill the pint glass with water, split it into three equal portions and top each one off with more water—boom, now you have three hangover cures. That said, a full gram of MgCl can be dangerous, so measure carefully! My other go-to is one tablespoon of salt and two pints of water. Dissolve the salt in a pint of water, gulp it down, then gulp down another pint of just water to chase. Usually sets me straight in about 30 minutes.” —Mark Guillaudeu, Roka Akor, San Francisco, CA

Better Booze and a Reuben

“At the end of the day it's about what you're drinking and how much of it you drink. If you want to avoid the hangover, drink higher quality products. Products with higher amounts of sugar tend to give you a serious hangover. They dehydrate you and make you feel totally gross. Enjoy better spirits (your wallet may hurt a little more, but not as much as your head). My trick is to take an aspirin and a glass of water before bed, and a Reuben sandwich—those are awesome.” —Zack Berger, Analogue, New York, NY

One Drink an Hour and a Glass of Milk

“Stick to only one drink an hour when you’re planning on having an ‘all-day binge with buddies’. With this rule in mind, you are free to pick whatever poison you like, because your body will be able to metabolize it more quickly. I also recommend a glass of milk before bed so you can wake up feeling refreshed, while keeping your bones strong.” —Hector Torres-Colon, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, Minneapolis, MN  

All of the Water, All of the Time

“Usually sticking to the same drink all night is a good strategy. And if you are mixing a liquor with soda water or plain water, you definitely have an advantage over being hungover the next day. Before bed, I try to drink as much water as I possibly can and leave a full glass by my bed as well for a middle-of-the-night thirst quench. In the morning, if you are in bad shape, a little bit of Fernet Branca will help to calm down your stomach. The herbs in the liqueur work wonders. Another choice is pickle juice. The salty liquid kinda kicks you back into being human and forgetting the wild beast you were the night before.” —Amy Witz, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL

No Shots, Sugar or Cheap Booze

Here are a few basic tips: Drink a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink you consume. Avoid overly sugary cocktails. Skip the shots. Stay away from cheap spirits.” Brad Goocher, Le Farfalle, Charleston, SC

Drink Natural Wine

“I find quality spirits will always treat you better the next day. While natural wine and spirits can still pack a punch the next morning, the severity of the suffering is far less than with their chemical-laden brethren. Also, drink plenty of water and your body will thank you the next day. Finally, remember that moderation was one of Socrates' four virtues of life.” —Billy Nichols, Faun, New York, NY


“My normal anti-hangover is tons of water and a pre-bed Advil.  But I do have one weird one: One night out, my wife and I ate through a tasting menu that included some lightly cured organ meats (mostly liver and heart) from game that the chef had hunted. My face turned bright red when I got home. But the next morning, despite the half a dozen cocktails and many wine pairings we had consumed, my wife and I both felt like new. So if I'm out drinking, I always look for something with liver in it. In a weird way, it’s like borrowing some extra liver from another animal.” —Kyle Davidson, Elske, Chicago, IL